Exercising in the morning is something I have struggled with for years, but I finally achieved it and can officially call myself a morning exerciser!
For years, I’ve been trying to make exercising in the morning a routine. In fact, I think that’s been my New Year’s resolution since I was about 15 years old!
Last year, I said on Instagram that I wanted to exercise in the morning, but I didn’t have the motivation to get up early enough. On the rare occasion I woke up earlier, I was too hungry and weak to exercise. So when I ate, I was too full to exercise!
You can see where I’m going with this! To be honest, I had an excuse for everything.
I was trying (in a way) but it felt like my body just didn’t want it to happen!
So I asked for some tips and looked at what others have done. The response was overwhelming (thank you everyone!) and I received some great advice.
I’ve been putting your advice to good use over the past few months and can officially call myself a morning exerciser. I’m not a fitness expert or anything. I’m just a regular busy mom who has all the commitments and struggles to find time for herself. If anyone is in a similar situation, I hope this blog post helps!
I’ve been working out almost every morning for the past five months, and it’s now in my routine that I can’t imagine not working out. (Honestly, I never expected you to say something like this!)
So without further ado, here are some tips for getting into the habit of morning exercise and solid morning training!
Why am I exercising in the morning?
The main reason I exercise in the morning is because even with the best of intentions, I’m too busy at night to get the chance.
I love a moderate workout around 6pm. It gives you the energy you need at the end of the day (dinner tastes even better after a workout!) You want to exercise for your health and maintain a healthy weight. I also have high blood pressure, so I know that regular exercise is very important to keep my heart healthy.
But between after-school clubs, unfinished business, the kids’ bedtime, housework, spontaneous visits from friends and family, or that tempting bottle of wine in the fridge…evening training doesn’t happen. Often not!
Exercising in the morning means that the exercise is over and over before the day begins, there is no opportunity to make excuses or talk yourself down, and there is nothing that is out of your control that will stop you from exercising.
But how can you wake up early and exercise!?
My morning exercise routine
We have three children: George (6), Joseph (5), and Alba (2). Our mornings look like this…
- 6.20am – Wake up
- 6.20-6.40 – Drink coffee and watch anime with the kids (I’m not a morning person so I can’t get out of bed full of energy. I also snuggle on the couch for the last 20 minutes with the kids is needed!)
- 6.40-7.30 – Make the boy’s lunch, empty the dishwasher, get the boy’s breakfast, prepare the boy’s uniform, help Sam get Alba dressed and ready for nursery
- 7.30 – When Sam goes to work, I like to see him riding his Peloton bike as he comes out the front door
- 7.30-7.50 – 20 minutes on the Peloton
- 7.50 – 8.00 – Strength class
- 8.00 – 8.10 – Yoga or stretching class (not always available)
- 8.10 – Make sure the boys have finished eating and are getting ready for school
- 8.10 – 8.30 – Take a shower and change clothes
- 8.30 – Run the washing machine
- 8.30 – 8.40 – Keywords/Spelling/Reading with the Boys
- 8.40 – Arguing with Joseph because he isn’t dressed yet, wants more breakfast, hasn’t brushed his teeth, and the bedroom is tipped (every day!)
- 8.45 – Let’s all walk out the door!
As you can see, it’s a little rushed, but it worked for us. I find that I need to plan my workout the night before and have everything ready. You don’t have 10 minutes to spend scrolling through your workout apps looking for the perfect yoga class, so you have to find it the night before.
I also take out my workout clothes so they are ready. If I have to go somewhere in the morning, I also prepare my clothes at that time. I work from home 90% of the time, so I usually just wear leggings and a jumper.
Let’s get into my 20 tips for exercising in the morning
1. Stop making excuses
It’s time for some tough love. Stop making excuses and just keep going.
We can all find 101 excuses for not training. But do you know who is doing the training? I’m the kind of person who stops making excuses and just gets on with it! We all have other things to do. That’s nothing unusual. Stop making excuses and just do it.
It’s not about having time. Nobody has time. It’s about making time.
And if you want to make health and fitness a priority in your life, you need to make time for it.
2. Accept that the thing that’s stopping you, is you
A little more tough love here. The only thing really stopping you from exercising in the morning is yourself.
If you really want to do it, you’ll do it. So you have to ask yourself, ‘What’s holding you back?’
3. Ask yourself what you find hard about exercising in the morning?
Make a list of all the things that keep you from exercising in the morning and find ways to overcome them.
Here’s what my list looks like and how I overcame them:
There’s so much to do in the morning – most of it done the night before
Don’t have time to go to and back from the gym? Find a home workout you can stick to
You can’t exercise first when you’re hungry – drink a strong cup of coffee and start exercising
I need to get the kids ready for school – I organize them so they can prepare themselves (I put out all the breakfast stuff for them and put their uniforms on their beds)
Lack of motivation – start small and feeling healthy will quickly become a source of motivation
Can’t get out of bed – Plan your day so you don’t have to get up so early
Don’t know what practice to do? Plan what you’re going to do the night before so you don’t have to think about it (Peloton stacks allow you to save classes and play them continuously) I like this)
I’m still struggling – do something (anything!) for 10 minutes before taking a shower. If you’re taking a shower, it might be a good idea to sweat a little.
4. The joy of little and often
I’ve struggled to exercise (morning or otherwise) for a long time because I’ve been trying to get too much done. In the past, I would always go to the gym for at least an hour and do a combination of cardio, strengthening, and stretching. I felt like this should be a good workout (although, to be honest, I’ve never done it because I didn’t have the time or motivation to do much!)
When I started working out in the morning, I would train for 15-20 minutes. There’s nothing more.
Even I can do it in about 15 minutes! You’ll be surprised what you can do in 15 minutes.
What’s surprising is that a 15-minute workout every day produced bigger and better results compared to a big workout once a week.
What’s even more amazing is that I enjoy it. I’m not afraid to think about it because I really enjoy it, and that’s what matters most!
Small doses and frequent doses are best. Some mornings I wake up and do a 45 minute workout because I’m full of energy, and other mornings I’m feeling groggy and do a quick workout.
Start your morning exercise routine with something simple. It’s really simple. No, it’s easier than that.
The barrier to entry needs to be so low that you can’t talk yourself into it.
Maybe I’ll continue with that, or maybe I’ll move on to something bigger. Either way, just do something.
If you’re interested in the concept of small habits having a big impact, I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s about how small changes can change your life. I read it and listened to it on Audible and I feel like I was brainwashing myself into believing every word he said. I usually live by the mantra, “Go big or go home!” So this book was revolutionary for me!
For more information about the book, check out this summary of Atomic Habits.
5. Stop telling yourself it needs to be perfect
What held me back from working out in the morning was the feeling that my workout had to be “perfect.” What exactly is perfect training!?
6. Something is better than nothing
Remember, something is always better than nothing. You have to truly believe in this for it to work.
It definitely helped me when I realized that even a 20 minute workout can have a huge impact both physically and mentally. I feel so good afterward and the 20 minutes fly by.
7. Find a home workout you love
OK, this is fluffy advice and won’t help you unless you find your dream workout that you love, but if you do, you’re halfway there!
Like many people, I canceled my gym membership during the 2020 lockdown and can confidently say I will never join a gym again.
It took me a while to find my favorite home workouts, but now I love how easy it is to work out at home. It’s a huge time saver and you don’t have to adjust your schedule to make sure you get childcare while you’re at the gym!
It was a big investment, but I ended up buying a Peloton bike. It was the best money I have ever spent!
Read more: Peloton review: Should you buy a Peloton bike?
For many people, working out at home isn’t necessarily cheaper than a gym membership. By the time you buy some equipment and sign up for online classes, it can actually become more expensive. But personally, I think it’s worth it for the time savings and flexibility it provides.
8. Drink a strong coffee as soon as you wake up
If you don’t have the energy to exercise right after you wake up, I highly recommend drinking very strong coffee. Many people say they drink coffee and a banana right before a workout to combat the lack of energy they feel in the morning!
I struggled with this because I was hungry when I first woke up. However, if I want to eat something, I would like to wait 30 minutes until breakfast is finished. And then I lost the motivation…
I’m usually more of a tea drinker than coffee, so waking up with a strong cup of coffee didn’t come natural to me, but it quickly gives me the energy I need without having to eat a big breakfast!
Nespresso’s Vertuo coffee machine makes it quick and easy to make your first delicious cup of coffee!
9. Have a mantra to get you through exercising in the morning
I’m still very committed to my morning workouts, but I have the odd morning where I just don’t feel completely set. I need a mantra on mornings like this.
Please don’t laugh.
My mantra is “Shower by 8am!’
No matter how hard it is, just the thought of taking a hot shower by 8am will cheer you up. I know I will feel great and this horrible feeling will be forgotten and I will be so proud of myself.
I don’t know why, but the thought of showering by 8 a.m is more motivating for me than the words “I’ll be done in 15 minutes.” I immediately need something to look forward to that will remind me that in a few minutes I will be going about my day as usual and all that will be forgotten!
Once you find your mantra, everything changes.
10. What if you’re feeling really hungry during your morning workout?
The advice here is simple:
Please work together to overcome this.
Do a short workout and eat right after you’re done! Once you actually get used to it, you’ll realize there’s nothing to be scared of and you won’t faint!
I didn’t like the advice at first, but now I’ve actually taken it and it’s working for me.
I think some experts would disagree with this. Working out on an empty stomach forces your body to use stored fat for energy. This may be a good thing for some people, but for others it can cause them to feel shaky and nauseous. There is also a suggestion that if your body knows to store fat on a regular basis, it will store more fat!
Another very important point is that if you exercise on an empty stomach in the morning, you are less likely to set a record because you won’t have enough energy to reach your full potential.
These are all valid points, but I personally believe that exercising on an empty stomach is better than not exercising at all.
11. Start your new morning exercise routine at the weekend…
…or on a day when you can enjoy a leisurely morning.
If you’re really struggling, I definitely think it’s worth starting on a day when you don’t need to start so early. In fact, I developed a new morning exercise routine over Christmas, when I didn’t have to rush out of the house every morning. I was able to do everything fairly slowly and feel at ease.
12. Don’t get up any earlier
One of the reasons I stopped exercising in the morning was the idea of waking up earlier each morning. Partly because I love sleep and hate waking up early, but also because I didn’t want to wake the rest of my family up any earlier than necessary!
So how can you focus on your morning workout without getting out of bed early…?
13. Do all of your morning jobs the night before
So this was just a game changer for me. All the small tasks I would do in the morning started the night before.
I actually don’t need to do this now, but I used to do this in the beginning to make sure my mornings were super simple.
I make the kids’ lunches, make sure their uniforms are ready, get out the breakfast cereal and bowls so they can help themselves, prepare my outfits, empty the dishwasher, Run the washing machine and check the laundry. I cleaned up the kitchen before I went to bed.
These are all small tasks that don’t feel like they take a lot of time, but they add up to about 30-40 minutes.
15. Set yourself an achievable goal
Setting weekly or monthly goals will increase your motivation to stick with your new habits.
I’m taking on the annual Peloton challenge of working out for 10,000 minutes in 2022. I clocked a little over 800 minutes in January, and I feel like this is a weird way to stay motivated. I never thought something like this would motivate me, but it does, especially when you can see how many minutes other people are doing!
16. Find an accountability buddy
One thing I really like about the Peloton app is that all of your friends can see your workouts. Just knowing that people are watching increases my motivation!
17. Parents, don’t put too much pressure on yourselves
I added this blog because I know that many parents read my blog and that there are many parents of young children who want to take time for themselves and exercise. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If your baby is awake during the night, it can be tiring.
Alba is almost 2 1/2 years old and Sam and I are just getting to the point where we feel like we still have the energy to exercise!
Children grow up. It won’t be long before your dog is sleeping better, becoming more independent, and having a little more free time to exercise.
18. It REALLY helps if your partner is into it too
I bought a Peloton bike last summer, but Sam didn’t start using it until the end of the year, so it was great to know he was working out too. We don’t work out together. We don’t teach the same classes and our goals are very different. Sam works out at night too, but I find working out in the morning much better.
I know this isn’t a small tip. Because if you have someone like your partner, BFF, or housemate who doesn’t want to exercise, there’s not much you can do to change that. But if you start this journey together, you’re more likely to stay together forever.
19. Having a holiday booked really helps!
I like to say that exercise makes you feel good and keeps you physically and mentally healthy, but it also makes you look great in a bikini!
I actually don’t have any plans for a summer beach vacation, but I’m planning a wedding in June, so that’s a big motivator. And since you can’t get married every year, it’s better to book a beach vacation.
20. Sometimes IT IS about waiting for the right time
The reason I left this until last is because many of us waste our lives waiting for the “right time” and sometimes the right time may never come. Often you just have to do it at the right time.
But… sometimes timing is everything.
For me, it was the perfect time to start a morning exercise routine.
For the past seven years, I’ve basically been waking up every few hours in the middle of the night, either pregnant or with a newborn or breastfeeding, and now I’m at a stage in my family life where I have a little bit more time for myself. I am.
I wouldn’t have been able to do this two years ago because I had three kids under the age of four.
If you’re at a stage in your life where you’re just juggling too many balls to make it happen, don’t worry about it. Make sure you are making adjustments to ensure that happens in the future.
There it is. 20 tips for exercising in the morning! If you have any other suggestions of your own, please add them in the comments below as I would love to see what others do to stay motivated.
7 months with a peloton bike: Is a peloton bike worth it?